By: Mia Sawaya
FORT COLLINS- Autumn is here and the leaves need raking. Last week, I saw people around campus piling up leaves, so I interviewed CSU’s grounds department for more information.
Sheela Backen, the department manager, explains that the leaves are taken to the composting facility at the foothills campus. They are specifically taken to the windrow composting which is basically a large compilation of organic materials. Sheela explains that the leaves are an important part of the composting process as they quote, “help bring the salts down from the horse bedding to improve the quality of our finished compost.”
So leaves are helpful for CSU’s composting, but maybe you’re not into composting. There are still quite a few options of what to do with your leaves. You can mulch them into your lawn with a mulching lawnmower, drape them over plants for insulation through winter, or use the Leaf Exchange program to give them away. This program is an online service where people post their unwanted leaves online so others can pick them up. All you have to do is put the unwanted leaves in a bag and post on the message board which can be found through fcgov.com/leaves.
The leaf exchange started in 2004 as a way to prevent leaves from unnecessarily going into the landfill. It gives people an alternative to throwing away unwanted leaves which lowers the amount of waste put in trash cans. Lowering waste amounts can help people save money with the Pay-as-you-throw Program. Senior Sustainability Specialist, Honore Depew, explains that this program gives people the option to downscale their trash cans and financially benefit.
He says that trash pickup services vary in price, but all companies must charge two times more for a medium bin and three times more for a large bin. So downscaling your trash or recycling bin size will save you money. Depew explains that a motive of this program is to get people to consider the amount of waste they produce.
By considering the amount of packaging in purchased products and paying attention to composting options, unnecessary waste can be prevented. Depew notes that the pay as you throw program is nationally recognized as an effective waste reducing strategy as it quote, “helps align financial benefits with environmental benefits.”
Whether it’s purchasing low waste products or utilizing composting services, reducing waste is an easy way to help your wallet and the environment.